I have a confession: I am a Latitude-goer. It’s difficult to admit this, because Latitude has a reputation as the most middle-class of festivals. It’s a bit like confessing to a fondness for Noel Coward plays, or mung bean salads.
In the eyes of many of my fellow NME staffers, go to Latitude and you’re automatically an irredeemable toff who dresses like Beau Brummell and wears a monocle, casually lighting fine cigarillos with a £100 note.
Well, sue me. If it’s ‘middle-class’ for a festival to treat punters like human-beings, with wide-ranging tastes – rather than herdlike turnstile-fodder with an interest only in arena-level supermarket indie – then I guess Latitude organisers are guilty as charged.
For me, though, the beauty of Latitude lies not so much in its much-mocked non-musical cultural fare – the poetry tents, Scrabble enclosures etc – as in the fairytale serenity of its setting. Spanning a lake and wood, and populated by docile, multi-coloured sheep, it feels genuinely rural and remote. Like Glastonbury, but without the unwieldy scale and crushing, unmatchable sense of expectation.
This year’s line-up looks a bit less indie than last year’s, a touch more mainstream. Out go Interpol, Franz and Sigur Ros, in come Pet Shop Boys and Grace Jones – although the presence of Editors and Doves means there will still be guitar anthems aplenty for those that want them.
More than any other festival, though, the big-hitting headliners at Latitude tend to be secondary to the vast array of other entertainment on offer. I know I’ll be going this year, whatever the line-up.
Has anyone else out there already snapped up a ticket? Or would you – like many of my colleagues – not be seen dead within 50 miles of Henham Park?